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Assonance

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Assonance

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds across words, particularly in stressed syllables.

Example

How now, brown cow.

Newly cut the yew stuck, quivering, in the morning dew.

The pale, fat man would say that they can, but would they say that too?

Discussion

When a sound is repeated, it creates a pattern and hence the pleasure of recognition. In rhyme, the final sounds of words are repeated in successive sections. Assonance can be more subtle, creating patterns more surreptitiously and hence sneaking up on the conscious mind and perhaps adding the excitement of surprise.

Assonance can be over-done (perhaps as in the examples above) and can also be more subtle, with sounds spread across multiple phrases or sentences and maybe at regular intervals, thus creating additional subtle patterning.

Assonance is common in poetry poetic prose. It may also be used in public speaking to create a more impressive-sounding speech.

Classification: Repetition

See also

Using repetition, Surprise principle

 

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